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“The Wharton Mansion, in Southwark, fronting the river, back from the present Navy-Yard, was a country-house of grandeur in its day. It was of large dimensions, with its lawns and trees; and, as a superior house, was chosen by the British officers of Howe's army for the celebration of the Meschianza. Wilton, the place once of Joseph Turner, down in the Neck, was the nonpareil of its day. It was the fashionable resort for genteel strangers. Every possible attention was paid to embellishment, and the garden-cultivation was superior. The grounds had ornamented clumps and ranges of trees. Many statues of fine marble (sold from a Spanish prize) were distributed through the grounds and avenues. The mansion-house and out-houses, still standing, show in some degree their former grandeur. The ceilings are high and covered with stucco-work, and the halls are large."
“Duché's House.—This was one of the most venerable-looking, antiquated houses of our city, built in 1758 for Parson Duché, the pastor of St. Peter's Church, as a gift from his father. It was taken down a few years ago. It was said to have been built after the pattern of one of the wings of Lambeth Palace. When first erected, it was considered quite out of town (corner of Third and Pine Streets), and for some time rested in lonely grandeur. It afterwards became the residence of Governor McKean; and, when we saw it as a boy, we derived from its contemplation conceptions of the state and dignity of a Governor which no subsequent structures could generate. It seemed the appropriate residence of some notable public man.”
NOTE 13. PAGE 257.
Brave Percy, when his charger stood
First on the field of Brandywine.
“ Among the gayest of the gay, as a volunteer in the suite of one of the British generals,-as tradition informs us,—was a sprightly and chivalrous descendant of the Percys. He was a noble and generous youth, and had volunteered on the present occasion as an amateur, to see how fields were won. As the young Percy came over the brow of the hill, he was observed suddenly to curb in his impatient steed; and the gay smile upon his lively features, changing at first to gravity, soon becarne sad and pensive as he glanced his bright eye over the extensive rolling landscape, now rife with animation. The wide prospect of gentle hill and dale, with forest and farm-house, the bright waters of the Brandywine, just appearing in one little winding section, in a low and beautiful valley on the right, formed of itself a picturesque view for the lover of the simple garniture of nature: all combined to make up a scene which it would hardly be supposed would have damped the ardor or clouded with gloom the fine features of a young officer whose proud lip would at any other moment have curled with scorn and his eye kindled with indignation at the remotest intimation of a want of firmness in the hour of trial. Yet, with a subdued and halfsaddened eye, the young Percy, who but a moment before was panting to play the hero in the contest, paused for a moment longer. Then, calling his servant to his side, and taking his diamond-studded repeater from his pocket,—'Here,' said he, take this and deliver it to my sister in Northumberland. I have seen this field and this landscape before, in a dream in England. Here I shall fall. And’-drawing a heavy purse of gold from his pocket—' take this for yourself.' Saying this, he dashed forward with his fellows. The most obstinate fighting during the engagement took place near the centre, which rested upon the little stone meeting-house of the Quakers, and in the graveyard, walled on all sides by a thick stone masonwork, which, with the church, are yet standing as firinly as at the period of which we are writing. This enclosure was long and resolutely defended by the Americans; and it was near this place, about the middle of the action, that the noble young Percy fell, as he believed he had been doomed to do. The enclosure was at length scaled, and carried by the bayonet. The wounded were taken into the meeting-house, built by peacemakers for the worship of the God of peace, though now the centre of the bloody strife; and the dead were inhumed in one corner of the buryingground in which they had many of them been slain. Just before our visit, a grave had been dug, and the remains of a British soldier disinterred. A part of his shoes remained: a few pieces of red cloth, a button likewise, marked • 44th Regt.', and a flattened bullet,—probably the winged messenger of death to the wearer,—were also found; both of which were given to us by the good man near by the meeting-house."